The CHRB has just released the names of three more dead racehorses in California:

Thursday, a yet-to-be-named 2 (or 3)-year-old died at Golden Gate – “accident,” they’re calling it.

Saturday, Call Sign Lucky was killed training at Los Alamitos. He was two and had been put to the whip 7 times.

Same day, Velocemente was felled in the 10th race at Golden Gate. No surprise there, as she was a “went wrong” on the chart. Velocemente was also two, and this was her very first time under the whip.

These are victims 21, 22, and 23 on the California racing year.

The “Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act” is a 2019 federal bill that would ban both the slaughtering of horses on U.S. soil (currently there are no active slaughterhouses, but that’s only because USDA inspections of those facilities has been defunded) and the export of American horses for the purpose of slaughter.

U.S. Horseracing, as we well know, is in a fight for its very existence. You would think, then, that all the major players would have enthusiastically lined up to back legislation that addresses the blackest of marks on their industry – the wholesale slaughter of their erstwhile “athletes.” But you would be wrong. For some – most conspicuously, The Jockey Club – support is still missing; for others, like the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association (PHBA), it’s only now coming – after two years.

In a press release last week, the PHBA wrote:

Continuing to demonstrate its commitment to the health and welfare of thoroughbreds, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association today announced its endorsement of the Safeguard American Food Exports Act.

The release continued:

PHBA Board member Hank Nothhaft said … the fact that many unwanted thoroughbred broodmares are found in slaughter pens proved to be a call to action. “There was unanimous support from the PHBA Board to mitigate the slaughter of broodmares,” said Nothhaft. “Older broodmares, especially, are not attractive candidates for equestrian activities, and thus they are not as easy to rehome as younger horses. This has really pushed us from sitting on the bench towards getting into the fray.”

Imagine that. Only now, two years after the bill’s introduction, only now, after decades of carnage (which all have been aware of) are the PA breeders “demonstrat[ing] [their] commitment to the health and welfare of thoroughbreds, [no longer] sitting on the bench, getting into the fray.” It is cynical; it is disgusting; it is horseracing.

Viking Voyage “bled and was vanned off” at Delta
Jj Jess Baby “vanned off” at Louisiana
Skipin On Orchard “hit a fallen rival, DNF” at Parx
Wave Carver Returns “fell, DNF” at Louisiana
Theperfectsamurai “collided with [and fell over] rival” at Sam Houston
Thunder Ahead “hit by [above], DNF” at Sam Houston
Peves Jackpot Jack “vanned off” at Remington
Unbridled Mesa “vanned off” at Penn
Red Dynasty “bled” at Remington
Anyway Anyhow “hit rail, DNF” at Remington
Gabiota Ridge “vanned off” at Sam Houston
Velocemente “went wrong, vanned off” at Golden Gate
Tak “vanned off” at Hawthorne
Hidden Scroll “bled” at Keeneland
Bombay Shaker “fell after wire, vanned off” at Louisiana
Giant Boo Boo “vanned off” at Mahoning
Hes Resilient “vanned off” at Remington

While not all the “vanned” end up dead, most do, as borne out by our year-end FOIA reports. But even if death is not the ultimate result, the above are victims nonetheless, suffering painful injuries – in the case of the bleeders, pulmonary hemorrhage – so that some men may gamble, others chase pots of gold. (For any new confirmed deaths during the week, please see our running annual list.)

The 7th at Keeneland yesterday for 4-year-old Hidden Scroll, as relayed by Equibase: “HIDDEN SCROLL was irritable early…settled along the turn, was in the five path into the lane and empty down the lane, bled.”

I don’t know, but do you think it’s possible that this poor animal was “irritable” because his lungs were about to bleed from being forced to run at a breakneck speed by a perched, whip-wielding human? Vile.

Last month at Santa Anita, according to the Stewards Minutes, 19 horses were scratched prior to their races for sickness; 11 for injury; and 7 for “unsoundness.” Then this: On March 5, “Jockey UMBERTO RISPOLI was in our office to review his crop use in Sunday’s eighth race. Mr. Rispoli did not have an excuse, other than to say he simply miscounted. Unfortunately [italics added], this was his fourth offense in last sixty days.” So what did the Santa Anita sages figure was a reasonable punishment for 4 whipping violations in 60 days? A three-day suspension.